Here’s a very important quote by Doug Conant, “To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” Indeed, you cannot win in the market unless you have won the hearts of your people, your employee who actually work toward realizing your goals. And how can you win, if your employees are disengaged?

Today, employee engagement has become as important as talent attraction and retention. Employee engagement is crucial to ensure the competitiveness of a business and its growth. Studies reveal that employee engagement determines employees’ performance and gives a business a competitive edge over the other.

As much as employee engagement can fuel great employee satisfaction and therefore great performance, a lack of it may result in employee disengagement and negative impact on the business. A general lack of interest among employees impacts productivity amounting to a lesser turnover against the estimated growth. A recent report published by Dale Carnegie shows that on an average, disengaged companies in the US incur an annual loss of 11 billion USD, while those with engaged employees outperform their average financial goal by 202%.

The figures in the report are pretty alarming. While Founders and CEOs are invested in the overall market affairs and revenue growth of the company, the onus of employee engagement lies in the leadership of the human resources team of any businesses.

The overall impact on the ROI is a much later development, but what are the earliest symptoms to identify that your employees are disengaged and that you should plan a strategy to address the challenge?

Here are four traits of an engaged employee base-

  • Enthusiasm– Employees are generally seen happy at work
  • Inspired– Employees are motivated and driven to excellence
  • Empowered– Employees accomplish a given task their own way
  • Confident– Employees are relaxed, sure of their skill and determined about quality output

So, if your employees do not exhibit the above four qualities, they sure are disengaged and you need to chalk a route to help these professionals come to work with a great heart and return home with content and appreciation for their daily work. If you are personally not confident of how to cultivate the above factors indicative of employee engagement, here are a few suggestions you may look into and customize to your need-

(1) Encourage Open Communication

Employees are always keen to know what’s going on with the business they are into. They have ideas to share and sometimes they need to be involved to think of an idea that may solve a problem in question. Senior management often overlooks this aspect by freezing open communication which results into disengagement. Discourage gossip culture that unsettles all and breaks trust among people.

(2) Appreciation through Acknowledgment

Human psychology has it that people perform their best when there is some kind of acknowledgment or appreciation in the reward. If you crave for the best in your employees, invest in identifying talents your employees possess. It is not necessary that such talents are directly aligned to your business goals, but again, as a leader, you must find out, praise and guide your employee on how to redirect such values toward better business delivery. Your appreciation is the acknowledgment for your employee to know that you care.

(3) Foster an Inclusive Culture

A research by Gaudreau Meyerson and Blanchard Dewettinck discusses how the implementation of empowerment can impact businesses. As a leader, you got to give that trust to your people at work so that they are motivated to deliver to your expectations beyond the expected. Do not be critical of your associates for their personal choices, their lives in general, their habits or anything that’s beyond the purview of a business establishment. This will foster inclusion at work, and the feeling of ‘being wanted’ which is when employees are inspired to go the extra mile.

(4) Reward and Recognition

Do you have an R&R in place? If you don’t, it’s high time you look into how such R&R can be brought into effect. Set up a team wise quarterly R&R program that will act as a major motivation for your employees to keep working toward excellence. This fosters healthy competition and increased productivity. Your R&R need not be an expensive gala, it can be as inexpensive yet endearing as offering a certificate and sending the winning team for a small lunch.

(5) Succession Planning and Career Development

A serious employee base is always willing to upscale with a focus on professional and organizational goals. If you as a leader aren’t able to offer them a succession planning or invest in their career development through various training opportunities, you gradually lose their interest. Draw them closer, discuss their aspirations with their reporting managers and have them define the journey as meticulously as possible. Routine will bore, unless you keep them interested through new learning programmes that will add value to their careers.

None of the above can be achieved without strategic planning and implementation at an organizational level. The culture has to be all pervasive. You have to build a culture that is contagious and every person feels important, accountable and inspired. To engage the world, you begin with engaging your people at home!